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17 Sep 2018 description
report Voice of America

September 16, 2018 6:33 PM
Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in an unprecedented announcement Sunday, pledged to offer Pakistani citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Afghans born to refugee families his country has been hosting for decades.

The United Nations refugee agency and local officials say there are 2.7 million Afghans, including 1.5 million registered as refugees, in Pakistan. The displaced families have fled decades of conflict, ethnic and religious persecution, poverty and economic hardships in turmoil-hit Afghanistan.

08 May 2018 description
report Voice of America

Mohammad Habibzada

WASHINGTON — A high-ranking Taliban member is calling for peace in Afghanistan. The comment by shadow chief justice, Mawlawi Abdul Hokom came in a letter to Taliban leader Habtullah Akhundzada.

Hokom said all Afghans, including those living in Taliban or Afghan government-controlled areas, are tired of war and want peace.

The Afghanistan Ministry of Defense (MOD) provided a copy of the letter to VOA that was initially sent from northeastern Baghlan province, and claimed that many of the Taliban members favor peace.

19 Feb 2018 description
report Voice of America

WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD — A security expert from the Afghan-Pakistan region said Pakistani officials are blaming unrest on Afghan refugees in a bid to divert attention from the real causes of militancy.

At a security conference in the German city of Munich Saturday, Pakistan's chief of army staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa said the repatriation of Afghan refugees could greatly help in curbing terrorism in the Pak-Afghan region.

31 Jan 2018 description
report Voice of America

January 31, 2018 6:18 AM
VOA News

A young Pakistani girl was killed Wednesday by a strong earthquake that struck several thousand kilometers away in northeast Afghanistan.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the epicenter of the 6.1 magnitude quake was located about 35 kilometers south of Jarm in the Hindu Kush region near the border with Tajikistan, at a depth of 191 kilometers.

The fatality occurred in Pakistan's Baluchistan's province. The child was killed when the roof of her mud-walled house collapsed. At least nine other people were injured.

28 Jan 2018 description
report Voice of America

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — A second group of refugees to be resettled in the United States from Australia's offshore immigration centers has left Papua New Guinea. Washington has agreed to take up to 1,250 migrants held in Australian-run processing camps in the South Pacific. In return, Canberra will accept a small number of Central American refugees.

15 Oct 2017 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States are set to resume four-way discussions Monday in Oman in a renewed bid to seek a politically negotiated settlement to the Afghan war.

The meeting of the so-called Quadrilateral Cooperation Group, or QCG, in the Gulf state is taking place after a gap of 16 months. Senior foreign ministry officials from the four nations will lead their respective delegations at the talks.

19 Sep 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

A suicide blast near one of Pakistan's two main border crossings with Afghanistan has wounded at least 22 people, including several members of the security forces.

Monday evening's attack prompted Pakistani authorities to swiftly suspended all traffic at the southwestern Chaman post.

Officials said personnel of the paramilitary Frontier Corps were heading to the border crossing when a suicide bomber ambushed their vehicle and blew himself up near a busy public spot.

Splinter group takes credit

15 Aug 2017 description
report Voice of America

Madeeha Anwar

Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region, beleaguered for years by terrorism and lawlessness, has seen a decline in militant activities during the past few months as the result of government counterinsurgency operations, a recent security report says.

FATA Research Center (FRC), a non-governmental organization based in the capital of Pakistan, observed a decline of 19 percent in violent incidents during the second quarter of 2017 in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the border with Afghanistan.

06 May 2017 description
report Voice of America

ISLAMABAD — Border clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 80 others Friday in a disputed area, officials said.

A Pakistan army spokesman said the fighting erupted after Afghan forces fired at a government census team near the southwestern border town of Chaman.

Army spokesman Major-General Asif Ghafoor said several Pakistani soldiers escorting civilian enumerators were among the wounded. He added that Pakistani troops returned fire and closed the busy Chaman border crossing with Afghanistan.

06 Apr 2017 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan is calling on Pakistan to stop fencing off the border between the two countries, suggesting that Kabul might resort to military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the issue.

The Pakistani military launched the fencing project last month after the fortification of regular border crossings and construction of new security installations along portions of the 2,600-kilometer, largely porous frontier, known as the Durand Line.

27 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD —

Pakistan says it has started fencing off its long border with Afghanistan and areas vulnerable to cross-border militant attacks are being given priority.

Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa revealed the project during a visit Saturday to tribal districts, including Mohmand, near the Afghan border where "terrorists" assaulted outposts from across the other side and killed five Pakistani soldiers this month.

10 Mar 2017 description
report Voice of America

By Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD —

Pakistan is defying calls for permanently opening the border with landlocked Afghanistan, asserting that terrorist attacks emanating from the neighboring country continue to hurt Pakistani citizens and security forces.

A string of deadly suicide bombings across Pakistan last month prompted authorities to close all regular crossings for movements of people and trade convoys across the largely porous frontier spanning roughly 2,600 kilometers.

06 Feb 2017 description
report Voice of America

Last Updated: February 06, 2017 2:39 AM

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Officials in Afghanistan say an avalanche caused by heavy snowfall struck a remote village Sunday in the eastern province of Nuristan, killing at least 53 people, and raising the nationwide death toll in the past three days to nearly 107 in such incidents.

Another avalanche hit a village around the same time in the adjoining northern Chitral region of neighboring Pakistan, killing at least 16 people, local officials confirmed.

11 Nov 2016 description
report Voice of America

By Hasib Danish Alikozai

Afghanistan will reportedly take in more than 1.5 million Afghan refugees by the end of the year, challenging the government at a time when Kabul is already struggling against resurgent Taliban militants and an emerging Islamic State group (IS).

16 Jun 2016 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD—Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed late on Wednesday to observe a cease-fire after days of deadly border skirmishes that left four soldiers dead and wounded more than 40 people, including civilians, on both sides.

Afghan and Pakistani security forces from both sides are said to have raised white flags, a common means to show surrender. The clashes occurred at the busy Torkham border crossing.

18 May 2016 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul
May 17, 2016 9:21 AM

ISLAMABAD— Pakistan says it is “sincerely” making efforts to reach a negotiated end to the conflict in Afghanistan because doing so would address Islamabad’s own security concerns and encourage millions of Afghan refugees and migrants who have lived in Pakistan for decades to return to their country.

14 May 2016 description
report Voice of America

NEW DELHI— South Asian countries will set up a toll-free helpline and online platform to fight human trafficking, which is growing on a massive scale in one of the world's poorest and most populous regions.

While some activists are hopeful this will curb cross-border trafficking, others doubt that it will dent the problem.

Although there is no specific data on the number of women and children trafficked in the region, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says South Asia is the second-largest and fastest-growing region for human trafficking.

13 May 2016 description
report Voice of America

Ayaz Gul

May 12, 2016 1:04 PM ISLAMABAD—

Pakistan has temporarily closed one of its two main border crossings with Afghanistan, but said the two sides are in contact with each other to resolve “differences” that prompted the move.

Pakistani authorities began fencing the northwestern Torkhum border crossing on Tuesday to “tighten controls” and deter illegal movement. But the unilateral activity provoked strong resistance from the Afghan side and the tensions forced Pakistan to stop the work and consequently close the border.

12 Jan 2016 description
report Voice of America

Ayesha Tanzeem

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN—Even as representatives of the United States, China, Pakistan and Afghanistan met Monday to try to work together to bring peace to Afghanistan, officials from Afghanistan and Pakistan continued to publicly differ on the way forward.

29 May 2015 description
report Voice of America

Ayesha Tanzeem

KABUL— Hadeesa is only 14 years old, but her face already shows the signs of life weighing her down. She manages the family’s meager resources, takes care of a sick mother, and tends to a younger brother who gets beaten at work. Her father and brothers together make less than $40 a month, half of which goes towards the rent.

“We only eat bread with tea and pay rent," she says. "We can’t afford anything else.”